Holiday Photos in AAC Learning: 3 Ideas for Using Them to Build Language
Whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or some combination of holidays, these events offer rich opportunities for building language in people who use AAC. There’s a good chance that someone took photos which can be a terrific source of motivating materials. In this post, we’ll look at a few ideas for using those to strengthen language and communication skills.
- Collect them into a photo album: Use PowerPoint, Keynote, or an app to pull the photos together into a collection that can serve as a highly motivating context for language learning activities. With these albums we can:
- Page through them together to practice making comments (e.g., cold; I see tree, That is pretty),
- Co-create a narrative about the picture,
- Work on morphological goals such as pluralization and verb tenses, and,
- Build longer sentences (e.g., ‘hot chocolate’ becomes ‘drink hot chocolate’ or ‘make more hot chocolate’).
- Create a photo collage: Work with the AAC learner to peruse and select some photos (e.g., ‘I like this one.’ ‘It is good.’ ‘I want to use this.’) then use a free app, such as Pic Collage or Photo Grid, to create collages. The AAC client can indicate where to put each photo, choose a background for the collage, and select stickers to decorate it. This provides a wonderful opportunity to work on meaningful choicemaking, rejecting non-preferred options, making comments, labeling, building sentences, and using specific kinds of words that are part of their educational or therapeutic goals (e.g., verbs or descriptors that go along with the photos).
- Make a talking photo: Have the AAC learner select a photo and help them create a caption for it to work on sentence building or specific vocabulary. Use a free app such as Voice Thread, or a web-based program, like PhotoBabble, to make and share the talking photos.
Communicating with AAC can be hard work, particularly for those who are still developing their language skills. The beauty of using photos in activities like these is that the client ends up with a product (i.e., their collage, talking photo, or album) that validates their efforts and are fun to share with friends and family members.
Do you use holiday photos in your AAC teaching? Share your experiences and ideas so that we can all learn together.
This post was written by Carole Zangari